Are you preparing for an upcoming court date? If so, then you, like millions of others before you, are likely nervous, heated, or overwhelmed. These are not unusual emotions to experience in a time like this.
In fact, there are many emotions tied to courtroom appearances. Depending on the specifics of the case, you may feel sad, depressed, anxious, hurt, resentful, or even guilty.
Once you walk through the doors of the court, those feelings can become even more amplified, but it is important to keep them under control because your behavior in the courtroom can directly impact the outcome.
Stay small. While you don’t want to come across as feeble and helpless, there is a lot to be said for humility in the courtroom. Be aware of the court’s grandeur and the importance of the people seated before you. After all, their decisions may impact the rest of your life.
This is not said to increase your nervousness, but to remind you that you are at the mercy of the court and a conceited or “big-headed” approach to a case can earn you the bad feelings of the judge and jury.
Stay humble. Let that humility bring out the utmost respect for the courtroom staff. Speak with high regard for these individuals, paying them the respect that you would hope to be returned to you.
Address the judge only when asked, addressing him or her as “Your Honor.” Similarly, when speaking to the opposing attorney or another member of the court, use terms like “Sir” and “Ma’am.”
Keep your cool. It is easy to get heated in the courtroom, especially when you are so closely tied to the facts of the case, but don’t let the opposition shake your resolve. Angry outbursts will only hurt your case. If you must, take a deep, but quiet breath before speaking, to ensure that your voice stays even and respectful.